SQLAuthority News – Android Efficiency Tips and Tricks – Personal Technology Tip

I use my phone for lots of things.  I use it mainly to replace my tablet – I can e-mail, take and edit photos, and do almost everything I can do on a laptop with this phone.  And I am sure that there are many of you out there just like me.  I personally have a Galaxy S3, which uses the Android operating system, and I have decided to feature it as the third installment of my Technology Tips and Tricks series.

1) Shortcut to your favorite contacts on home screen

Access your most-called contacts easily from your home screen by holding your finger on any empty spot on the home screen.  A menu will pop up that allows you to choose Shortcuts, and Contact.  You can scroll through your contact list and then just tap on the name of the person you want to be able to dial with a single click.

2) Keep track of your data usage

Yes, we all should keep a close eye on our data usage, because it is very easy to go over our limits and then end up with a giant bill at the end of the month.  Never get surprised when you open that mobile phone envelope again.  Go to Settings, then Data Usage, and you can find a quick rundown of your usage, how much data each app uses, and you can even set alarms to let you know when you are nearing the limits.   Better yet, you can set the phone to stop using data when it reaches a certain limit.

3) Bring back Good Grammar

We often hear proclamations about the downfall of written language, and how texting abbreviations, misspellings, and lack of punctuation are the root of all evil.  Well, we can show all those doomsdayers that all is not lost by bringing punctuation back to texting.  Usually we leave it off when we text because it takes too long to get to the screen with all the punctuation options.  But now you can hold down the period (or “full stop”) button and a list of all the commonly-used punctuation marks will pop right up.

4) Apps, Apps, Apps and Apps

And finally, I cannot end an article about smart phones without including a list of my favorite apps.  Here are a list of my Top 10 Applications on my Android (not counting social media apps).

  • Advanced Task Killer – Keeps my phone snappy by closing un-necessary apps
  • WhatsApp – my favorite alternate to Text SMS
  • Flipboard – my ‘timepass’ moments
  • Skype – keeps me close to friends and family
  • GoogleMaps – I am never lost because of this one thing
  • Amazon Kindle – Books my best friends
  • DropBox – My data always safe
  • Pluralsight Player – Learning never stops for me
  • Samsung Kies Air – Connecting Phone to Computer
  • Chrome – Replacing default browser

I have not included any social media applications in the above list, but you can be sure that I am linked to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)


SQLAuthority News – Windows Efficiency Tricks and Tips – Personal Technology Tip

This is the second post in my series about my favorite Technology Tips, and I wanted to focus on my favorite Microsoft product.  Choosing just one topic to cover was too hard, though.  There are so many interesting things I have to share that I am forced to turn this second installment into a five-part post.  My five favorite Windows tips and tricks.

1) You can open multiple applications using the task bar.

With the new Windows 7 taskbar, you can start navigating with just one click.  For example, you can launch Word by clicking on the icon on your taskbar, and if you are using multiple different programs at the same time, you can simply click on the icon to return to Word.  However, what if you need to open another Word document, or begin a new one?  Clicking on the Word icon is just going to bring you back to your original program.  Just click on the Word icon again while holding down the shift key, and you’ll open up a new document.

2) Navigate the screen with the touch of a button – and not your mouse button.

Yes, we live in a pampered age.  We have access to amazing technology, and it just gets better every year.  But have you ever found yourself wishing that right when you were in the middle of something, you didn’t have to interrupt your work flow be reaching for your mouse to navigate through the screen?  Yes, we have all been guilty of this pampered wish.  But Windows has delivered!  Now you can move your application window using your arrow keys.

  • Lock the window to the left, right hand screen: Win+left Arrow and Win+right Arrow
  • Maximize & minimize: Win+up arrow and Win+down arrow
  • Minimize all items on screen: Win+M
  • Return to your original folder, or browse through all open windows: Alt+up arrow, Alt+Left Arrow, or Alt+right arrow
  • Close down or reopen all windows: win+home

3) Are you one of the few people who still uses Command Prompt?

You know who you are, and you aren’t ashamed to still use this option that so many people have forgotten about it.  You can easily access it by holding down the shift key while RIGHT clicking on any folder.

4) Quickly select multiple files without using your mouse.

We all know how to select multiple files or folders by Ctrl-clicking or Shift-clicking multiple items.  But all of us have tried this, and then accidentally released Ctrl, only to lose all our precious work.  Now there is a way to select only the files you want through a check box system.  First, go to Windows Explorer, click Organize, and then “Folder and Search Options.”  Go to the View tab, and under advanced settings, you can find a box that says “Use check boxes to select items.”  Once this has been selected, you will be able to hover your mouse over any file and a check box will appear.  This makes selecting multiple, random files quick and easy.

5) Make more out of remote access.

If you work anywhere in the tech field, you are probably the go-to for computer help with friends and family, and you know the usefulness of remote access (ok, some of us use this extensively at work, as well, but we all have friends and family who rely on our skills!).  Often it is necessary to restart a computer, which is impossible in remote access as the computer will not show the shutdown menu.  To force the computer to do your wishes, we return to Command Prompt.  Open Command Prompt and type “shutdown /s” for shutdown, or “shutdown /r” for restart.

I hope you will find above five tricks which I use in my daily use very important.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

SQLAuthority News – Storing Data and Files in Cloud – Dropbox – Personal Technology Tip

I thought long and hard about doing a Personal Technology Tips series for this blog.  I have so many tips I’d like to share.  I am on my computer almost all day, every day, so I have a treasure trove of interesting tidbits I like to share if given the chance.  The only thing holding me back – which tip to share first?  The first tip obviously has the weight of seeming like the most important.  But this would mean choosing amongst my favorite tricks and shortcuts.  This is a hard task.

Source: Dropbox.com

My Dropbox

I have finally decided, though, and have determined that the first Personal Technology Tip may not be the most secret or even trickier to master – in fact, it is probably the easiest.  My today’s Personal Technology Tip is Dropbox.

I hope that all of you are nodding along in recognition right now.  If you do not use Dropbox, or have not even heard of it before, get on the internet and find their site.  You won’t be disappointed.  A quick recap for those in the dark: Dropbox is an online storage site with a lot of additional syncing and cloud-computing capabilities.  Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some of my favorite options in Dropbox.

Collaborate with All

The first thing I love about Dropbox is the ability it gives you to collaborate with others.  You can share files easily with other Dropbox users, and they can alter them, share them with you, all while keeping track of different versions in on easy place.  I’d like to see anyone try to accomplish that key idea – “easily” – using e-mail versions and multiple computers.  It’s even difficult to accomplish using a shared network.

Afraid that this kind of ease looks too good to be true?  Afraid that maybe there isn’t enough storage space, or the user interface is confusing?  Think again.  There is plenty of space – you can get 2 GB with just a free account, and upgrades are inexpensive and go up to 100 GB of storage.  And the user interface is so easy that anyone can learn to use it.

What I use Dropbox for

I love Dropbox because I give a lot of presentations and often they are far from home.  I can keep my presentations on Dropbox and have easy access to them anywhere, without needing to have my whole computer with me.  This is just one small way that you can use Dropbox. You can sync your entire hard drive, or hard drives if you have multiple computers (home, work, office, shared), and you can set Dropbox to automatically sync files on a certain timeline, or whenever Dropbox notices that they’ve been changed.

Why I love Dropbox

Dropbox has plenty of storage, but 2 GB still has a hard time competing with the average desktop’s storage space.  So what if you want to sync most of your files, but only the ones you use the most and share between work and home, and not all your files (especially large files like pictures and videos)?  You can use selective sync to choose which files to sync.

Above all, my favorite feature is LanSync.  Dropbox will search your Local Area Network (LAN) for new files and sync them to Dropbox, as well as downloading the new version to all the shared files across the network.  That means that if move around on different computers at work or at home, you will have the same version of the file every time.  Or, other users on the LAN will have access to the new version, which makes collaboration extremely easy.

Ref: rzfeeser.com

Dropbox has so many other features that I feel like I could create a Personal Technology Tips series devoted entirely to Dropbox.  I’m going to create a bullet list here to make things shorter, but I strongly encourage you to look further into these into options if it sounds like something you would use.

  • Theft Recover
  • Home Security
  • File Hosting and Sharing
  • Portable Dropbox
  • Sync your iCal calendar
  • Password Storage

What is your favorite tool and why?

I could go on and on, but I will end here.  In summary – I strongly encourage everyone to investigate Dropbox to see if it’s something they would find useful.  If you use Dropbox and know of a great feature I failed to mention, please share it with me, I’d love to hear how everyone uses this program.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)